The Office for National Statistics has reported a noticeable uptake in retail sales in the month of January, providing much needed reassurance for high street retailers that there is still considerable consumer demand for physical retail.
According to the ONS, the amount of goods sold in Great Britain rose by 0.9% overall, but food retailers and department stores in particular saw impressive pick up, with purchases increasing by 1.7% and 1.6% respectively. The news no doubt represents some much needed reassurance for high street retailers, who have been contending with steadily decreasing sales throughout 2019.
Some industry commentators have declared that the UK's high street is destined to disappear in the coming years as online retail continues to gain ground, and shoppers turn to faster, more convenient options. However, these figures would seem to suggest that the high street and physical retail in general still has much to offer.
Will Broome, CEO of mobile technology pioneers Ubamarket, is of the opinion that the high street still has much to offer, and can provide an experience that online retail simply cannot.
As an expert in retail technology, Will believes that retailers must simply adapt their shopping experience to attract more customers back in-store:
"It is extremely positive to see such a considerable pickup in retail sales this past month, especially at a time when many are criticising the bricks and mortar retailers following a slow 2019 and the ever-growing presence of e-commerce.
While e-commerce certainly has its upsides, physical retail has so much to offer consumers in the UK. The opportunity to visit a store, interact with the products and know exactly what you're getting is an incredible advantage; retailers must recognise the power of what they have and work to improve and revitalise the shopping experience for consumers.
A recent study by Epson shows that 75% of people would change their shopping habits if the shopping experience was more immersive - this shows that the overwhelming majority consumers are crying out for experiential shopping. One of the best ways to improve the customer experience is to use technology, such as that provided by Ubamarket, to hyper-personalise the shopping experience for each consumer and give shoppers more incentive to come in-store. Given that over half of shoppers in Britain are happy for retailers to collect their data provided that they can save money, retailers who are willing to adapt and implement technological solutions to modern problems are sure to enjoy sustained growth."